Pilot of downed Andrews plane didn't die at once

Georgetown County authorities have identified the pilot killed when a small airplane crashed near the Andrews Airport and said he did not die immediately.

The pilot, Richard Gross, 66, of McClellanville, was alive after impact, Georgetown County Deputy Coroner Paulette Radcliffe said Thursday.

Radcliffe said the initial call about the crash was logged at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday. Gross was pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m.

The airplane crashed into the woods near the Andrews Airport, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

Lt. Neil Johnson with the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office said the Stinson model 108 fixed-wing, single engine plane Gross was piloting crashed around noon about 150 yards from the Andrews Airport runway. It's unclear how old the plane was, but production of the model ended in the late '40s.

The airport sits off Gapway Road on a secluded parcel of land with mostly tall grass and swampy terrain on three sides.

Johnson said officials from the National Transportation Safety Board are handling the crash investigation.

The FAA will investigate whether the pilot was landing or taking off or neither when the crash occurred, said Kathleen Bergen, FAA spokeswoman.

She said there was no air traffic control communication with the pilot.

The crash was the second in the area since a private plane hit a mobile home park in North Myrtle Beach, killing the three people aboard and injuring four on the ground.

Gross had had his plane at a hangar at the Andrews airport for less than six months, said Pete Kinder, chairman of the Georgetown County Airport Commission.

Prior to that, Gross had his plane at the Georgetown County Airport.

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